* 8:26 am - From a press release…
Same-Sex Marriage In Champaign County
URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten today issued the following statement on same-sex marriage in Champaign County:
“On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Illinois Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after consulting with State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation at taxpayer expense.
“Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.”
Gordy is a Republican, by the way.
*** UPDATE *** Equality Illinois is urging other county clerks to start issuing licenses and is encouraging Downstaters to travel to Champaign County for marriage licenses. From a press release…
“Clerk Hulten recognized both the humanity of helping gay and lesbian couples to fulfill their dreams and the legal soundness of following the decision of a federal court that denying marriage licenses was unconstitutional,” said Berrnard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.
“It is simply time for the other county clerks to follow suit,” Cherkasov added. “As we saw in the immediate rush to the Cook County Clerk’s marriage bureau after Friday’s ruling, gay and lesbian couples are eager and ready to take the step that not only grants them and their family the legal benefits and rights of marriage but also bestows society’s recognition that their love is equal.”
It is also significant that the licenses are now available in a Central Illinois county, which is within easy driving distance of not only Champaign-Urbana but also Peoria, Decatur, Springfield, Bloomington-Normal and Danville for couples and their families. “While we were thrilled with Friday’s ruling that applied to Cook County, this is a major step that instantly spreads marriage equality to another major region of the state,” Cherkasov said. “We are working with more county clerks to help them step up.”
The Champaign County Clerk’s office is at 1776 E. Washington Street, Urbana, Illinois. The website is http://champaigncountyclerk.com/vitals/marriage.php.
With the swiftness of the ruling and its immediate effectiveness, there are many questions about implementation of the law. The Equality Illinois guide Marriage Rights in Illinois helps answer them. It can be read and downloaded here: http://www.equalityillinois.us/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Marriage_Rights-5.pdf.